Somali pirates hijack ship with 29 Chinese: East Africa maritime official

16:12, November 13, 2010      

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Somali pirates have hijacked a Panama-flagged cargo ship with 29 Chinese crew onboard in the Arabian Sea, a regional maritime official confirmed on Saturday. Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) said the ship, Yuan Xiang, was seized on Friday night, outside the pirate infested waters of Gulf of Aden.

"I can confirm the pirates hijacked Yuan Xiang on Friday at midnight Kenyan time in the Arabian Sea near India. The vessel has 29 Chinese crew," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa. Reports said the pirates told the shipping company they were taking it toward the war-wracked Horn of Africa nation which has been without effective central government for many years. The attack occurred in an area outside the region where multination force working together to patrol the Gulf of Aden , one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and other waters off Somalia where pirates operate.

Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels. The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. International military officials have vowed to fight Somali pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa, as attacks begin to decrease. Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently. Many ship owners are investing in physical defences like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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